Steam Machines everything you need to know

Gaming Gadget

Steam Machines everything you need to know

In late September 2013 or the PS4 or Xbox One they had yet appeared on the market. What would two months later, but first we would surprise announcement from Valve, a company that had revolutionized the world of video game distribution service Steam. Those responsible for this company then presented a concept that recovering the PC as gaming device and urged him to even greater heights.

The project was based on three legs the Steam Machines the PCs pre-configured for that purpose-the Steam Controllers -the control knobs with a few notable and benefits steam, a GNU / Linux distribution customized to Steam would serve as foundation of operation. Yesterday we met the news of this initiative to finally take final shape: the Steam Machines are closer than ever to get, and this is all you need to know about them.

Gaming GadgetSteam Machines seem consoles are PCs

The cornerstone of this whole concept are the Machines Steam, which are actually PCs specially designed to try to provide a good experience when enjoying video games at a competitive price and with a design very focused on removal from office for placement in the room.

Valve has worked with several manufacturers to launch Steam Machines market, but after the initial announcement of 2014 in which it seemed that up to 12 partners were launching this type of PCs, that support was fading. So much so that after the confirmation that the machines would have to wait for this year, in yesterday’s announcement, there are only two manufacturers to launch their Steam Machines in this first batch.

On one side it will be Alienware, which has long been a brand belonging to Dell, which will have its Alienware Alpha with prices from 599 to 919 dollars. On the other company will Syber, will also offer three different configurations-from 499 to 1,419 dollars for different types of needs. On paper the commitment of both manufacturers could be considered almost as modest, with proposals based on the Intel Haswell CPUs (at least one year old) family and graphs

Steam Controller touch and haptic technology

The Steam controls for video games became from the first moment a surprise for gamers: even inherited part of the benefits of traditional console controls, replaced the usual two analog sticks by two touch surfaces. That technology gave a scare, and in fact went on to state that the controls would eventually stop having that kind of touch support.

But in yesterday’s announcement it confirmed that these controls have that support, but also will have haptic technology that will strengthen this “immersion” in video games. In the video presented to show Valve Controllers running their Steam it is clear that these devices can be made ​​to work very well, and if the promise is fulfilled these controls could be a benchmark for this market.

In the controller there are other “luxuries” as the only trigger that allows such “point and shoot” by double-clicking it will make as we press with more or less force recognize one or another action. In the video you can better understand this concept, and it also makes clear how it will be possible to customize the behavior of the command with all kinds of profiles: from those created by us to those available on the Steam service and that will be shared by the community Users of this device. You may book as one of the knobs on the official Steam store at a price of 54.99 dollars to which we must add shipping charges.

Steam Link if you already have a powerful PC, forget about Steam Machines

Steam understand that there are many gamers who already have a powerful PC and may want to join this project differently. And that’s what offers Steam Link, a small device that enables streaming of video games from the PC to the TV through both 802.11ac WiFi connection and a 10/100 Ethernet connection -here there are complaints about the lack of support GbE.

That indicated from Valve, will be enough to enjoy video games resolutions 1080p and 60 FPS, but also will have an HDMI output to carry the video signal streaming to the TV, monitor, or projector, and a couple of USB 2.0 ports to connect the controls. The Bluetooth 4.0 standard is also an integral part of this small accessory which of course will work seamlessly with the Steam Controllers.

Valve solution is similar to that offered for example recently NVIDIA Shield, and, even though both use the GameStream NVIDIA technology to perform the streaming of video games for the PC, here come the doubts. While NVIDIA Shield only works if your PC GPU is NVIDIA, there are sources that show that the Steam Link will work with any dedicated graphics, including AMD.

We try to confirm this as soon as possible, but in principle it seems doubtful that they could do something like this when it seems clear that the bet on graphics cards for Steam Machines is all to the NVIDIA. What I stated officially, interestingly, is that Steam Link work with ” Steam Machines, Windows PCs, Macs and PCs with Linux “. You can now reservations your Unique Link from the official Steam store for a price of 54.99 dollars, which I like in the previous case we must add shipping charges. If you buy the pack Steam and Steam Controller Link (109.98 dollars), however, you will save yourself at least one of the two shipping: the full cost is around 122 dollars.

Steams you can play from Linux, but not the entire catalog Steam

Another key sections of the project is the operating system that governs the PCs that become Steam Machines. That system is steamos a GNU / Linux distribution based on Debian 7 fully customized and wherein the interface and user experience They are totally focused on the game that you can buy, download and launch from the Steam store. Here the Big Picture mode that debuted three years ago in the Steam client is one of the fundamental ingredients of the user experience.

Best of steam is that not only will be found in the official Steam Machines of partners Valve: ourselves we can build our Steam Machine steam based on whether we meet the minimum requirements for Careful installation erases the entire disc contents hard of the team. If you choose this option we have at our disposal the ISO images of steams in beta, and although the installation process can be somewhat “different” for novice users, it is likely that users who choose this option will not have any problems.

This is important to note that the official Machines Steam and we “do as” with steam have a limitation that can become important: available on Steam catalog will be to Linux, and while there are many (recently surpassed the barrier of 1,000 – and big games are not nearly all offering such a rich catalog of Windows This affects users of the official Steam Machines since. if want to enjoy this catalog will have to install Windows and pay for a license for easy access to that catalog and buy and enjoy these games careful, because many others are, and in the case of spectacular. The Witcher 3 or Batman: Arkham Knight.

SteamVR, an extra promising future

Virtual reality also form part of the commitment of Valve, which recently submitted its own glasses . The HTC lives are made ​​by Taiwanese manufacturing giant smartphone, and become an interesting proposal to extend that commitment to entertainment.

HTC few weeks ago and he confirmed that these virtual reality goggles would soon be available to developers, but his arrival at the end user would be delayed a few months. No price specified for this device, but is expected to be located in the same range as the Oculus Rift, which finally arrive in 2016 , and will cost between 300 and $ 400 – and other solutions for this segment you hope to achieve revolutionize the world of entertainment.

It remains to be seen what will offer this device do differential against other proposals. a couple of screens of 1,200 x 1,080 pixels are used with a refresh rate of 90 Hz, which they say is enough to eliminate the dizziness that often cause these devices. It will be interesting to see if the proposal achieves HTC Valve and industry support, developers and users.